November 30, 2004

Nothing But Net

Over the weekend, I was holding Dorothy upside down a bunch, which she loves. One time, I picked her up and held her upside down right over me, just in time for her to drool a huge gob directly down into my mouth - no lips, no cheek, just a perfect sunk shot from two feet away directly onto my tongue.

Eewwwww!!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)

Spammer's Holiday

Monday, November 29th, I received absolutely no spam. I don't mean that my spam-catcher caught it all - I mean that none came in! This lack of spam may have started on Sunday, I'm not sure. But for whatever reason, the end of the Thanksgiving weekend must have been a time for spammers to take a break. Maybe they'll take a permanent vacation some day...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2004

Thanks for Photos

Photos from the week of Thanksgiving are now online. They include a trip to the park, and much cuteness.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2004

Thanks

There are so many things I am thankful for this year. Top on the list, of course, is Dorothy Maia Nugent. Her successful birth, the joy she brings to so many of us, her continuing health and happiness; I'm thankful for it all.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2004

Not Quite 16 Tons

We've now had a few moving companies out to give us estimates on moving all our stuff out to Seattle. Most of the weight estimates have been very close - around 11,500 pounds or so, which they all round up to 12,000 pounds. Yes, that's right - we have 6 tons of "stuff." The scariest part is that, according to at least one estimate, one-quarter of that stuff (i.e., one and a half tons) is books (and paper). So we literally have a ton (and a half!) of books!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 04:12 PM | Comments (1)

November 21, 2004

Some Funny Quotes

Here are a couple of random quotes that I wanted to share. The first is from Brian Dunbar, who doesn't have a non-work blog of his own:

In an alternate universe there is one Road Runner cartoon, because at the end the Coyote brought him down with a revolver at 30 paces, and roasted his meat for a light midafternoon snack. It would be a less amusing universe, but perhaps one more just. That said, Iíll take this one.
Quote is by James Lileks.

The other one is from Seth Matheson's IM away message earlier today:

I can't watch TV for 4 minutes without thinking I have 5 serious diseases. Like "Do you ever wake up tired in the mornings?"
Oh my God I have this.. write this down... whatever it is I have this. Half the time you don't even know what the commercial is. There's people running through fields, or flying kites, or swimming in the ocean... Like that is the greatest disease EVER how do I get that! That disease comes with a hot chick and a puppy! .... I want that disease...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

The Incredibles: All Thumbs Up!

As already mentioned, Elizabeth and I saw The Incredibles yesterday. I can't add much besides my voice to the hordes of reviews which pile praise on the movie.

The movie does have many superhero-movie cliches, but not too many. And it departs from the norm in many ways. It combines the superhero's life with "real" life in true-to-life ways (yes, I know I just used the word "life" three, make that four, times), such as the scene near the end when the family is racing to the scene of the rampaging robot, and the husband and wife superheroes are arguing about which exit to take from the highway.

I could ramble on about some of the other nice little bits that combine to make it such a great movie, but I won't. Just go see it! Oh, and you can thank me for refraining (unlike most reviewers) from calling the movie "incredible."

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2004

Up On Arms

The subject of this post is "Up ON Arms" instead of "Up In Arms" because, well, it's what Dorothy has been doing this week. We have photographic evidence!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

Hot Date!

Elizabeth and I had such a hot date today. We dropped Dorothy off with the babysitter (one of the great ladies from daycare, actually) around noon. Then we went to the ultra-high-class Taco Bell for a quick lunch on our way to the movie theatre (yes, we went through the drive-thru). We saw The Incredibles, which was a great movie. Then we grabbed some coffee (at least for Eliz) and hung out a bit, then picked Dorothy back up, getting home by 5:30pm.

It seems our standards have changed a bit since Dorothy came along...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:14 PM | Comments (1)

November 19, 2004

Flipping Over

Dorothy has become quite mobile in her crib lately. She seems to have a preference for orienting herself 180 degrees from where she starts. We regularly find her with her head pointing towards the foot of the crib, and often with her head almost AT the foot. Sometimes she only makes it 100 or 120 degrees (clockwise as seen from above). I haven't seen her go past 200 degrees, so I think she really just prefers to face the other direction...

Oh, and she's regularly sleeping on her tummy now. Yes, the horrors, we're such evil parents, blah blah blah.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2004

Go West

Earlier today we emailed the following to practically everyone we know. Yes, we spammed our friends. :-) I'm posting it here just in case we missed someone.



After many years in the Boston area (17 for Elizabeth and 8 for Tom), we are moving on. Elizabeth has accepted a new job in the Seattle area, and we will be moving there in January. We'll be sad to leave our many friends in Boston, but this opportunity was too exciting to pass up. We're also happy to be moving much closer to Elizabeth's family in California.

Elizabeth will be working as a patent attorney for Intellectual Ventures in Bellevue. Tom will continue to work part-time for LiftPort in Bremerton, and will probably continue to run his technical illustration business for at least a while, as well. We expect to live in rental housing as we're getting our bearings and selling our Boston house, but we expect to settle into someplace relatively permanent in or near Bellevue sometime in 2005.

We'll be having a "farewell to Boston" party before we go, for those of you who are in the area. We're trying to pick the date that is best for everyone who's interested in attending. The party would start in the early afternoon on a weekend day. These are the days we're looking at:
Sunday, 12/12
Sunday, 12/19
Saturday 1/8
Sunday, 1/9
Please let us know which dates you can not attend (if you're hoping to attend at all). You can also feel free to express a preference for a particular date.

We will definitely still be keeping the blog up-to-date with all our Seattle happenings, and we'll do our
best to stay in touch with everyone. Please be sure to let us know if you're heading into our area, as we'd love to see you.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:55 PM | Comments (4)

Math Is Easy

According to this story on CNN:

The national test of student math skills is filled with easy questions, raising doubts about recent gains in achievement tests, a study contends.

On the eighth-grade version of the test, almost 40 percent of the questions address skills taught in first or second grade, according to the report by Tom Loveless, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at The Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank...[more]

What more can I say? Kids are ill-prepared for adulthood. There are certainly decent schools out there, but if all of the tests and school goals are set by the state, then we're doomed.

Well, OK, not "doomed" as in "about to be struck by a giant meteor." But the sorry state of education (on average) in this country isn't getting any better, and hasn't been great to start with...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:27 PM | Comments (1)

November 13, 2004

Hey, It's Photos

More photos of Dorothy.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:53 AM | Comments (0)

Sleep Update

Wow, no blog posts since Monday - you must think that we've dropped dead from sleep exhaustion and/or infant wailing. In actuality, things aren't too bad.

On Monday night, Dorothy stopped crying within 15 or 20 minutes after I posted the blog entry. After that, I think she woke up at 1am to eat, and then again at 4am. Then she didn't wake up until sometime after 6:30am, which is "late" for her! :-)

Since Monday, things have been going OK. She's been getting at least one "long" (for her - 1 hour or longer) nap almost every day, along with one or two half-hour naps. She might fuss and cry a bit when put down for a nap, but it doesn't last long at all. At night, she often goes to sleep for the first time without any crying at all (even before we started the "let her cry" campaign, she would very frequently fall asleep without much help or coaxing). She's generally been waking up at 10pm, and perhaps one or two other times before midnight, to creak and fuss and maybe cry for a while. But even that isn't continuous - she cries more in an "on-again, off-again" pattern. After midnight, she's mostly only been waking up to eat.

During the daytime, she's been her normal, happy gurgly self. And now that Elizabeth and I are starting to get better, less-interrupted sleep, we're much happier. Dorothy doesn't have to rely quite so much on her cuteness to keep her alive anymore. ;-)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 02:57 AM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2004

Harden My Heart

From Quarterflash's debut album "Quarterflash" (1981):

I'm gonna harden my heart
I'm gonna swallow my tears
I'm gonna turn and leave you here.....

Tonight we began something very close to what many call the "Ferberization" of Dorothy. After putting her down to bed, we're letting her cry until she goes (back) to sleep. Here's the action so far:

7:10pm - I put Dorothy in crib, pat her, talk to her, give her a kiss, then walk out to the sounds of her starting to cry.
~7:40pm - Crying finally stops.

7:50pm - I go in to check on her. She's asleep, although she's managed to twist around most of the blankets etc. and move all over.

8:30pm - Crying begins again.
8:35pm - Crying stops.

~9:10pm - Elizabeth arrives home from work.

10:30pm - Crying (well, more of a low-level creaking & fussing to start with) begins again.
10:55pm - Still crying. I finish up work on the computer and head downstairs to a sleepless night. :-(

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:54 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2004

Go To Sleep, Damnit

Yes, I love my daughter very much, and wouldn't trade her for the world. But her night-time sleep habits lately are pissing me off. Read on for the vulgarity-laced rant to Dorothy, unless you haven't yet had children, in which case you should just ignore this entire post because having children is a 100% happy experience which has no downsides whatsoever. Come on in and join us, the water's fine!



Dorothy, I understand that your mommy and I messed up your sleep schedule when we went to Seattle, even though you'd been making progress on sleeping longer at night and sometimes taking decently long naps during the day. And yes, we may not have been hard-core enough to reset your sleep schedule as soon as we returned home, instead letting you continue to come into the bed and doing whatever it took to get you back to sleep right away, rather than distracting you and keeping you focused on sleeping in the crib.

But we've been back home for over three weeks now! Get over it!

When it's 1am, and you just nursed only 90 minutes ago and had Tylenol right before that, and you seem content enough (perhaps even half-asleep?) in my arms or Elizabeth's arms but shriek bloody murder as soon as we get you near the crib, I am ready to scream:

GO. THE FUCK. BACK. TO SLEEEEEEEP!!!

We've come to like Dr. Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" book, which talks a lot about early bed times and long naps. It had been working a month ago. But now that you're not only waking up every couple of hours at night but also getting up for the day at 5-freaking-AM in the morning, we're ready to move on to his suggestions for the more difficult babies: let them cry it out. When you were four or five months old, I thought letting a baby cry until they dropped was still too "barbaric" a way to get babies to sleep. But I think it's become pretty clear that you're no longer staying awake because that's what your body wants. You're staying awake because you want attention and someone to play with.

That's nice and all, but no fucking way are we going to let you mess up our sleep forever. For one thing, I'm becoming less and less useful to your mommy when you wake us up at night. In the first few months, I could wake up and take care of you without much problem. These days, though, half the time I wake up very grumpy and almost scream back at you when you're fussing about the crib. I'm physically gentle, but not much use. So you're just being self-defeating about waking up anyway. And for another thing, I think it's time you start developing a better sleep schedule, because it'll be healthier for you, and it's the "big girl" thing to do.

So be warned: that little bit of crying while in the crib you experienced today could be just the beginning. Your mother and I need to get more continuous sleep, because your cuteness will save your life only for so long....

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:56 PM | Comments (3)

Balloon, Rosy Cheeks, and more!

Week 35 of Dorothy's life, in photos, is now online.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

A more accurate map of 2004 election results

I like these two blog entries (one and two) discussing the 2004 election results. They show that the country isn't as geographically divided as one is led to believe by the major media and their red/blue maps. These maps are colored by county, with the percentage of Republican/Democrat defining the color. The country turns out to be mostly purple, meaning we're pretty evenly divided across the entire nation.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

Self-Feeding

In addition to eating half-Cheerios for a little while, Dorothy has also been grabbing at them when left on the tray in front of her. But she hasn't put them into her mouth - she just grabs them (mostly with her fist, but occasionally with her thumb and forefinger) and looks at them.

That changed today. For the first time, not only did she grab a half-Cheerio with her thumb and forefinger, she then put it into her mouth and extracted her hand without the Cheerio attached! Of course, successive attempts mostly involved having a Cheerio in her fist and stuffing her fist into her mouth (which did not leave a Cheerio behind), but at least she fed herself a Cheerio properly once!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2004

T + 8 Months

Today is Dorothy's 8 month birthday. She's now been outside her mommy just about as long as she was inside (remember that she arrived a month early). She looks nothing like she did when she was born, and she has developed so much in so many ways.

I feel a vast number of emotions about being a father and about what a wonderful girl Dorothy is, yet I feel utterly unable to put those feelings into words. (Of course, I had the same problem right after she was born.)

There have been many small occurrences over the months that I've felt I should mention in the blog, but I forget about them too quickly, or they pile up too fast, and as a result many of these cute stories aren't recorded. I'm not too stressed about the loss, since most babies' lives weren't even documented this much before the advent of blogs. But still, I wish I could record the tidbits at the speed of thought, immediately after they happen, so as to have a more complete documentary of Dorothy's first years.

I don't know that I was "expecting" anything in particular of being a father, or of what Dorothy would be like at eight months old. But she has accomplished so much - who could have expected it all? She's eating solids (often acting like a little baby bird with her mouth wide open for the next bite), including Cheerios and (for the first time today) bits of grapes. Her sleep schedule still isn't great, but it is regular and predictable. She's starting to roll, and will willingly get onto her tummy and grasp for things - she's close to crawling, I suspect. She laughs the most heart-warming, infectious laugh in the world. I think she's inherited the volume of her laugh from her parents, because at daycare they commented on being able to hear her hysterical laughter down the staircase!

My brain is starting to fade this evening, due to lack of sleep, so I'm going to end my rambling here. Happy Eight Month Birthday, Dorothy. I love you, and I can't wait to see what the next eight months bring!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:16 PM | Comments (2)

A Six-Pack of Teeth

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Dorothy has been getting more teeth. The top lateral incisors (i.e., 2nd-from-front incisors) on both sides now appear to be mostly out. They've been slowly emerging day by day, so it's hard to say when they were officially "out," but they've been out since at least earlier this week.

Behind them, what I'm assuming are canines have poked through "sideways" out of her gums way way up. They haven't made any sign of descending, though, so maybe they'll just hang out for a while.

So yes, Dorothy now has six teeth, with two more threatening. Her smiles are no longer gummy - they're goofy & teeth-filled now!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 04:42 PM | Comments (1)

November 04, 2004

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Not content to do a bit of rolling around in the living room, at daycare today Dorothy supposedly rolled halfway across the room (maybe 10-12 feet) and then most of the way back! But that must have been tiring, because she then fell asleep, with the phone in her hand. :-) The daycare teachers claim to have taken photos, and I can't wait to see them. But it sounds like she's becoming somewhat mobile quicker than we'd expected.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:05 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2004

Mobilizing

OK, Dorothy's not crawling yet. She's not even commando-crawling or purposefully skooching (or is it "scooching"??). But she is definitely getting to be a bit mobile.

This morning (6am, I think it was), I set her in a sitting position in front of the couch. She's been getting more comfortable being on her tummy as she tries to grab stuff, so I let her roll forward onto her tummy to grab a toy. She then proceeded to slowly, a bit at a time, roll multiple times in the same direction until her head was against the entertainment unit (call it, maybe, five feet away), where she could start grabbing at the vertical fan. Luckily the fan base was wide, so she couldn't pull it over onto herself, but it reminded me of all the small things that need still to be done to baby-proof the house. :-P Eventually she turned the corner and started heading towards the dining room, adding a few more feet to her trip length. The going was harder once she got off the living room carpet, though, because her pajamas were very slippery on the wooden floor. She was more likely to push herself backwards with her palms during the times she was on her tummy.

Place your bets now as to whether she'll be totally mobile by Thanksgiving, and which modality (crawling, rolling, walking, flying, etc.) she'll be using.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:23 PM | Comments (2)

November 02, 2004

Learning about makeup

On Saturday, Dorothy and I went to MIT to help this year's rookies prepare for their first dance competition at Harvard. I haven't been coaching the rookies this year (since I've been somewhat busier than usual for some reason), so Warren and Elizabeth Dew have taken over the class. Elizabeth and I got together with the rookies to do all their hair and makeup for the competition, and I decided to bring Dorothy along and give Tom a bit of rest.

The rookies enjoyed playing with Dorothy, and she seemed to have fun seeing so many new people, and especially looking in the mirrors at herself and everyone else. When she got tired around midmorning, I put her in the sling and kept doing makeup standing up while she took a nap on my chest. Before she fell asleep, she kept trying to get at the eyeshadow I was holding. I refrained from putting any on her for the moment - she'll have to wait until she can remember not to rub her eyes and then lick it off her hands. :-)

The rookies did a fabulous job at the competition, everyone making two cuts. MIT took five of the top seven places (having started as sixteen couples out of over 150 competing). Congratulations to them, and kudos to Warren and Elizabeth for their fabulous coaching!

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 10:36 AM | Comments (1)

November 01, 2004

The Election

Thank all that's good that the US Presidential election is tomorrow, because I don't know how much more of the campaigning people can stand.

I have two points to make in this semi-rambling post. The first is that my vote does not really count. Why? Because I live in Massachusetts, John Kerry's home state. He'll probably carry Massachusetts with at least 65% of the vote, and perhaps much more. No matter who I want to vote for, the Massachusetts outcome is very predictable and hence my vote won't matter much. I'd like to vote Libertarian, to show some support for (at least parts of) that party's platform, but this year's candidate is a goof.

My second point is this: the thing that surprises me is the fervor that so many people are putting behind the presidential candidates. The candidates are politicians! Do you really think the world is going to be that much different (and presumably better) if your candidate wins?

I saw one person (on TV?) the other day claim that they were going to vote for Bush because they liked his platform of smaller government. Yet federal spending has grown more under Bush than any other president since Lyndon Johnson (see, for example, this 2003 Cato Institute article or just do a Google search), and he's gotten the hands of the federal government involved in regulating more parts of life (such as his education platform), not less. So the guy who's voting for Bush is misinformed at best.

But do any of John Kerry's supporters believe that he's going to change the world? I've seen pro-Kerry ads that talk about "equal pay" and making the Iraq situation all better, et cetera. Saying "I wouldn't have gotten us into Iraq in the first place" is not the same thing as presenting any sort of plan for improving the situation as it stands now. And there's still going to be an almost evenly-divided Congress, which means it'll be hard to pass any legislation. John Kerry's not going to be able to do much of anything, except maybe reduce the frustration abroad at America. Or maybe he won't even be able to do that.

So, I don't believe that either candidate will do much good or be able to make huge changes. What frustrates me is the vitriolic rhetoric and the general hype of people who think this election marks the potential end of the world. If you live in a swing state, then yes it's important for you to vote - maybe you'll affect the outcome. But will the winner of this election have a dramatic effect on the future, such as your living conditions when you retire, or whether we'll win against the terrorists? I believe the answer is "no."

OK, enough rambling. It's time for me to go see the real hope for change in our future - today's children. I need to go pick up Dorothy from daycare.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 05:09 PM | Comments (2)

Damn Cheerios

We started giving Dorothy Cheerios a little while ago (4 weeks? 6? I've already lost track). At first we broke them into quarters (yeah, you try "cutting" a Cheerio into quarters without turning it into a pile of dust) and put one into her mouth. She would gum for a bit, but didn't seem to like or dislike them. We graduated her to half-size Cheerios, and would give her a few with some afternoon meals.

At daycare she supposedly gobbles them up, a couple of dozen each day. But even at the rate of a couple dozen per day, you're not going to get through even a small box of Cheerios before they go stale. So Elizabeth and I started eating them. But now I can sympathize with Trixie's Dad and his feelings towards Cheerios. I keep a plastic bowl of them up in my office, and once I start eating some, I wind up snarfing down (dry, I might add -- no milk) a whole bunch. Then I've got dry Cheerio bits in my teeth, and need to get water or something else. But I can't stop - they truly are addictive!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

Counting Photos

Yes, there are more than 1,200 photos online as of yesterday, but that's not what this post is about. I've been putting photos into a catalog program I use, creating a new catalog roughly every two months (so that any one catalog doesn't have too many). Last night I grabbed the total number of photos from each catalog and the start/end dates as well, and calculated the average number of photos taken per day of Dorothy since she was born (OK, technically since right before she was born, since we have a few hospital photos as well). The good news is that the average is trending downward, but it seems to be approaching a plateau (as much as a "plateau" can be read from a couple of data points). Here's the data:
Time period Number of photos per day
March-April 17.6
May-June 15.6
July-August 14.0
September-October 13.7
Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)